One of Huddersfield New College’s many fantastic teachers has had the honour of being shortlisted for the TES Teacher of the Year Award 2017.

Vicky Close, who is Course Leader for Textile Design at the college, joined the College in 2004 as a trainee teacher, bringing with her a specialism in Textile Design. With a passion for Textile Design, Vicky has developed the course not only into one of the most successful in the College, as exemplified by 12A*s and 9 As from a cohort of 35 textile students in 2016, but into one of the most successful A level Textile Design courses nationally. The A Level textile work of her students is used by the Awarding Body AQA as an example of outstanding textile work, and the work of Vicky’s students is admired across the country.

Vicky commented “I believe wholeheartedly in the creative potential of each and every one of my students and I am fully focused on the College’s ambition of ‘Success for All’. I work to provide a safe, supportive and inspirational learning environment in which my students can flourish and grow as creative individuals.”

Vicky also works tirelessly to ensure that her Textile students have good employability skills, skills which make them highly sought after in the extremely competitive and fast moving Fashion Industry, and each year she tasks her students with raising money for and hosting one of the highlights of the College calendar- a professional Fashion Show at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield.

Progression to Textile Design and Fashion Design courses at university and to the Fashion industry in general from Vicky’s students is exceptional, and she currently has former students working for Versace, Missguided, Boohoo and Damart. One such student, Niall Cottrell, took time out from his busy life as a Versace designer in Milan to return to the college recently to speak to Vicky’s current students. Niall left the college in 2010 and went on to complete an Art Foundation Diploma at Leeds College of Art. He then studied Fashion Design (BA Hons) at Westminster University, London, graduating in 2015 with a First Class Honours Degree. After leaving Westminster, Niall went on to design for Max Mara, Burberry, Calvin Klein and Alexander Wang, before securing a position as a womenswear designer for Versace.

Niall said of Vicky, “The education I received in my time at HNC whilst working with Vicky in the Art Department was without a doubt a great start to my career. It was great to be working in such a nurturing environment, with such dedicated staff and resources.”

Huddersfield New College’s Deputy Principal Peter Kennedy nominated Vicky for the award on behalf of all of the staff at the college. He said, “Quite simply, Vicky is that very rare thing, a truly inspirational teacher. She is our Vivienne Westwood, our Alexander McQueen, and our Stella McCartney. She is more coveted to us than an original Chanel jacket! And she thoroughly deserves to be recognised as TES Teacher of the Year.”

“I’m humbled and honoured to be shortlisted for this award,” Vicky continued. “I take the approach that I’m here to give my students the best opportunity possible of moving on to positive destinations in jobs that they love; I want to set them up for life. To be recognised for this by this nomination is fantastic.”